Monday, September 05, 2005

The Pink Index Card

...or why it’s good to write things down.

When I see entire workshops devoted to ‘goal setting,’ I shake my head and think what’s the big deal? You set a goal, you strive to achieve it, and bingo—you either succeed or fail. Plain and simple. Why overanalyze? Why turn goal setting into some mysterious ritual full of hocus pocus psychobabble?

So, at the RWA National conference in Reno this past July, we arrived at one of our lunches to find pink index cards on the table. Enough for each of us. Turns out they’re the bright idea of multi-published author Debbie Macomber, our speaker that day. She instructed us to take the pink cards home and use them to write down five writing-related goals for the coming year. Then she called out the names of several authors in the audience who stood and waved their pink cards triumphantly. Recipients of Debbie’s advice in workshops past, they’d followed her advice and achieved their goals.

Well, I may not believe in hocus pocus, but I’m all about being superstitious. So, I toted that pink index card home (mindful that just any ol’ index card wouldn’t do—it had to be the one I got in Reno) and wrote down five goals. The first two were long-term best case scenario kinda things, and the others were stepping stones.

By the end of August, I had started to believe in the magic of the pink index card. Instead of my usual half-assed effort, I’d methodically mailed out several submissions—to agents, editors and contests. Feeling smug, I dug out my pink index card to mentally tick off what I’d accomplished.

Guess what I discovered?

I hadn’t remembered them correctly. I hadn’t even completed one of the stepping stones which, trust me, were quite do-able. This, after even writing them down!

So, it just goes to show you that 1) it’s not enough to store your goals in your head, and 2) it’s not enough to write them down.

I’m tacking that little pink card on the wall next to my computer.

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